Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Cholstim Report Summary

Project ID: 340101
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: Belgium

Mid-Term Report Summary - CHOLSTIM (Cholinergic modulation of immune homeostasis: new opportunities for treatment)

The immune system of the intestine should recognize harmful from innocent antigens and protect the host against invading organisms yet should be tightly controlled in order to induce too much collateral damage. In this project, we provide evidence that the cholinergic tone provided by the vagus nerve and enteric neurons play a crucial role in oral tolerance, the key mechanism responsible for immune homeostasis in the gut. Moreover, impaired cholinergic tone following vagotomy increases susceptibility to develop immune-mediated diseases such as colitis and food allergy in murine models. Conversely, electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve, through interaction with enteric neurons, has beneficial effects in murine models of postoperative ileus, colitis and food allergy. Of interest, the supernatant of isolated neurons installs a tolerogenic phenotype in macrophages and increases their capacity to produce IL-10. The mediators involved are currently further explored. Finally, the anti-inflammatory and therapeutic properties of vagus nerve stimulation were demonstrated in patients that underwent colorectal and pancreatic surgery, supporting further efforts to translate our findings to patient care.

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